• Member Since 26th Jun, 2018
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Lets Do This

We're going to build an exact copy of Ponyville... right over there! We've got less than a minute!



This story is a sequel to The Restless Princess

Canterlot's foundations are literally shaking. Even Celestia doesn't know why. Fortunately, Twilight and her Advanced Projects team are on the case... if only it was the same case...

For more of this series, see: Meet the Sparkles.

And also check out the entire series, beginning with Not Exactly Friends.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 39 )

Another excellent installment. However I have a criticism for the series in general. These stories are really long to be one large chapter I feel it would be better if it was split into smaller parts. Though this is just an opinion.

Addendum this is mostly because fimfiction does not have a back to top function on mobile platforms therefore making it really hard to get back to the top of the story

Many thanks! And yeah, I hear you. I was considering splitting this into at least a couple of chapters. The length kind of comes with the territory at this point -- when you have nine main characters counting Spike, Grubber, and Cheese Sandwich, it's hard to write short-short story, while still giving everyone a substantive part to play! :twilightsmile:

Oof, this was GOOD. Character growth all round, a good balance of humor and drama, mystery, worldbuilding, sweet science-y nerd babble, even more questions... I will never cease to be amazed by the quality of this series.

I do have to wonder, though, what exactly Bright Cut's crystal is. Did her parents unknowingly give her a shard from the roots of Harmony or something? And who, or what, was the entity connected to the evil cuprite cavern? Sombra, or at least something like him?

This was a nice surprise find!

Thanks so much, Eroraf86! My chief goal with this story was to tell a post-Nightmare story that shows the Advanced Projects group hard at work on a real problem -- earning their keep as the Heroes of Equestria, so to speak. So it's great to hear that it worked for you. And yes, there are some deliberate unanswered questions here that future stories will build on, so stay tuned!

Inability to focus on long-form fiction anymore, new Advanced Projects story

[sweaty guy with red button]

Aesthetic's right for umbrum, timing's right for changelings. It's probably neither.

REALLY good job on the balancing humor, drama, heart-warming, adventure, mystery and character growth in this chapter. Yeah, absolutely loved how Twilight and her friends were trying to do what they thought was a basic good deed (helping out a child looking for her missing parents) but actually not only succeeded in THAT, but also successfully solved another, much bigger problem (a series of dangerous tremors) which ended up tying directly into the aforementioned good deed. Also really adored Twilight reassuring Spike concerning Tempest and the rest of the gang all getting their chances to shine while helping Bright Cut find her geologist/gemologist parents, Rock Hammer and Silver Lining.

Yeah, the story was a bit long for a one-shot, but as you admitted yourself, giving equal time to nine main characters while also giving proper development to new characters AND showing the reactions from others IS something that requires a reasonably long story.

Anyway, very certainly looking forward to more of this series.

Between the creepy red crystals, the mysterious glyphs, and the whispers of madness; yeah, I am SUPER worried about what's brewing.

With all the crystals in this story, was the message actually from the Crystal Ponies and the princess was Cadence?

The last page of the story gave me shivers. Usually I see these sorts of foreshadowed endings from a ways to come -- what you did there caught me entirely by surprise and holy guacamole. Well worth the read and anxious for what comes next for these mares..

Thanks much! In terms of story construction, that was very much a "tab A in slot B" step, bringing the entire thing full circle to the very beginning. So I'm really glad it worked so well for you!

... that doesnโ€™t sound very good

I'm still debating with myself if this is a happy ending or not. The last word of the story is "happily"..

When the reveal that ponies can be afflicted with doubt and compulsion after a quake came, I was still caught off guard by the epilogue's reveal. I decided to think back if Bright Cut herself might have been affected this whole time and didn't realise it.

So what does this mean for her parents? Did she really set them free or were they impostors? If they were real, did she free something else as well?

A crystal that preys on doubts? Or are they really fears? What is the legacy of the Crystal Empire doing in Canterlot's mountain? Previous story already had Cadance going sleepwalking, now this?

Also, Trixie MVP for this story.

Write the holy words in letters of fire, thirty feet tall, on the side of the tallest mountain in the highest mountain range in the world:


You are a wonderful Author, and I am always thrilled to see what you've published next.


I did notice Bright Cut's talking crystal and thought that it would be brought up sooner. But Chekov's gun always fires!

I need to go read the Cadance story again...

Crystal influencing minds... that's ominous, probably Sombra though so there goes any real threat. Then again, I have seen some damn terrifying Fanon Sombras, so maybe its one of those...

Awesome story! Bright Gem is adorable. I'm hopeful that Tempest will continue to improve in the way she treats others, especially other guards and Grubber. He did follow her across a continent after all.

I bet the villain here is Umbrum.

Really enjoyed this story. My only complaint (though thinking on it, it goes beyond just this story) is how Celestia and everyone else (but mostly Celestia) put Twilight up on this pedestal like she's the best or most important one in the group. But they're all equally important and the others don't get the recognition they deserve. It's just kind of frustrating, and I actually like Twilight as a character. It just feels like the others are being ignored because Celestia is focusing the spotlight on Twilight and the others are just "and Twilight's friends". :fluttercry:

Agreed, that's going to be an issue, and you can see Twilight herself struggling with it, trying to remind everypony that the others are just as important as she is. It's the blessing and curse of popularity: you don't get to choose who's popular. The public decides who's "the hero", and everypony else becomes "the band" or "the entourage". Rest assured that I (and Twilight) think the other ponies are important. It's why these stories tend to be longer, since I try to make sure everyone in the group has a part to play.

Interesting... I've always puzzled over whether there was a connection between Sombra and the Pony of Shadows, as they felt to me like echoes of each other in show cannon. I'm curious if in this AU that might be explored.

I also feel hints of Discord in this AU's mix, for some reason.

Was the kid's dad's name just a random one you put together - or is he tied to his namesake?

I'd have called him Rock Shovel then...

Neat ๐Ÿ’—

Or am I still a ghost to you? ๐Ÿ‘ป

Many thanks! ๐Ÿ‘

And nopony's a ghost -- unless they scare me (runs and hides)...

*holds one of the red crystals*
Cuprite huh?
This is the thing that thrice damned alicorn amulet is made of isn't it?

the Umbran queen?

I am very curious about the connection between Cadence, the crystals, Tempest's armor and this 'aunty' figure

Trixie is really great (and powerful) in this one. I especially liked the part where she does her Sherlock scan. It made me think about Trixie as an investigator. Think about a story (or a series of stories) about Trixie going around Equestria with her magic show and solving crimes, maybe even working as an agent for Celestia/Luna (because who could suspect Trixie of being a secret agent?).

Great idea, and that bit was an homage to Holmes's annoying-but-accurate flash-reads of his clients. Though I suspect Trixie would never willingly work for somepony. She's definitely a one-pony show. But nothing's saying she might not supplement ticket sales with a little sleuthing on the side...


What always annoyed me is that the Pony of Shadows bit falls right in the notch between the storyline Faust was working on and the post-we-need-a-Princess-Twilight one that got inserted in fairly early in the writing cycle.

(If you ever felt S3 was a bit disjointed, you'd be right.)

Well, working for the Princesses would be an extra (and I think that if Celestia or Luna ask she would not be able to refuse) but I mentioned because... well, after the fourth or fifth time she goes somewhere and she find a crime that she need/want to solve it would get a little convoluted. I don't think Trixie is heartless, but the element of generosity or kindness she isn't. She would need a reason to get involved in the crime solving, she could get framed, or the crime is done during his show and she take it personally, or is asked by one of her fans (i.e. a foal which parent is falsely accused), but it risk to get old pretty fast.

This is also known as the "Murder, She Wrote" problem: whereever Jessica Fletcher goes, people keep dying left and right to provide the character with a mystery to solve. Of course, if the individual stories are interesting enough, it's the kind of problem you only notice when you binge the series...

...Darn it, how did I miss a "Not Exactly Friends" story for this long? Also curious what this was... Whatever it was, Celestia was certainly quick to bring everything she reasonably could down on it, so it must have proven irredeemable in the past... Worse than Discord, who merely got turned to stone and displayed for everypony to see.

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